Linux isn’t the only alternative PC operating system out there. Some alternative operating systems are developed by large corporations, while others are small projects worked on by hobbyists.
Tools like ping, traceroute, lookup, whois, finger, netstat, ipconfig, and port scanners are available on nearly every operating system you can get your hands on. They’re used for everything from troubleshooting a connection to looking up information.
Microsoft added User Account Control to Windows in Windows Vista, and it’s still used on Windows 7 and 8 today. UAC restricts what programs can do without your permission.
Smartphones are expensive — you wouldn’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on one and end up with a scratched screen. Many people still buy screen protectors to protect those screens, but they’ve become less necessary.
You’ve probably seen references to TCP and UDP when setting up port-forwarding on a router or when configuring firewall software. These two protocols are used for different types of data.
Virtual machines are isolated containers, so the guest operating system in the virtual machine doesn’t have access to your computer’s file system. You’ll have to set up shared folders in a program like VirtualBox or VMware to share files.
Memory cards are used in digital cameras, music players, smartphones, tablets, and even laptops. But not all SD cards are created equal — there are different speed classes, physical sizes, and capacities to consider.
You can buy a laptop or Wi-Fi tablet and use it on Wi-Fi anywhere in the world, so why are cell phones and devices with mobile data not portable between different cellular networks in the same country?
Ubuntu 14.04 LTS will “form the basis of the first commercially available Ubuntu tablets,” according to Canonical. We installed Ubuntu Touch 14.04 on our own hardware to see what those tablets will be like.
A Mac’s Recovery Mode is for more than just reinstalling Mac OS X. You’ll find many other useful troubleshooting utilities here — you can use these even if your Mac can’t boot normally.
Your operating system provides each user account with its own folders when you set up several different user accounts on the same computer. Shared folders allow you to share files between user accounts.
In 2012, Google’s Dianne Hackborn threatened to revoke CyanogenMod’s access to the Android Market if they moved forward with adding “Cornerstone” multitasking to their custom ROM. Samsung has since created their own multi-window multitasking feature.
Netbooks — small, cheap, slow laptops — were once very popular. They fell out of favor — people bought them because they seemed cheap and portable, but the actual experience was lackluster. Most netbooks now sit unused.
Web browser bookmarklets allow you to perform actions on the current page with just a click or tap. They’re a lightweight alternative to browser extensions. They even work on mobile browsers that don’t support traditional extensions.
Android still doesn’t offer proper multi-window multitasking, but you can get it with a third-party tweak. All you need is root access — you don’t have to install a custom ROM.
Keyboard shortcuts are essential on any device with a hardware keyboard, whether you’re using a Windows PC, Linux system, Mac, or even a Chromebook. Chrome OS and other operating systems share quite a few shortcuts, but many are unique to Chrome OS.
QWERTY — so-called because the letters at the top-left corner of the keyboard begin with QWERTY — is the most common keyboard layout. But some people think alternative keyboard layouts like Dvorak and Colemak are faster and more efficient.
Boot Camp can be annoying. Both Windows and Mac OS X can see each other’s files, but they can’t write to the other operating system’s partition.
This is Microsoft’s attempt to give Windows 8 and 8.1 the “always-on” state people get from iPads, Android tablets, and smartphones. A PC with Connected Standby can’t use other power-management states like Sleep and Hibernate.
Windows software downloads are a mess. Many programs try to drag adware and other malicious junk onto your computer. Even safe programs we test sometimes turn to the dark side and start bundling junk later.
Troubleshooting a Mac is different from troubleshooting a PC, but not all that different. Use your Mac’s built-in startup options to test your hardware, boot in safe mode, reinstall Mac OS X, and perform other system tasks.